Let your computer, mobile or tablet play sound wirelessly on products made for it. When it comes to music, you can get rid of your cables today.
By Elina Blom Westergren
It is both comfortable and practical to be able to change the song on the stereo with the push of a button, even if you are in another room. And it’s simple. Today there are several wireless solutions available for you to listen to music.
• You can, for example, store all your music on a computer or a network hard drive and then access the contents via mobile phone or tablet. This means you don’t burden the mobile phone’s memory.
• You can also keep the music in your phone or tablet and instead do the reverse, playing the unit’s music for example through your home entertainment system or external speakers. An alternative is to buy wireless speakers or a playback device which supports wireless technology, and is compatible with your mobile phone or tablet.
One of the most common technologies is Bluetooth. This technology can be used widely and there are standards which determine what you can do with Bluetooth support for specific products. If you want to stream stereo sound wirelessly, you need support for A2DP standard (advanced audio distribution profile).
The advantage with Bluetooth is that you can quickly pair gadgets; and almost all modern network gadgets support Bluetooth, which means there are many products to choose from. The disadvantage is that gadgets must be within ten metres of each other because of the limited range.
There are several technologies to choose from if the above-named doesn’t meet your requirements. Apple uses a technology called Airplay. If you have an iPhone and an Airplay-certified stereo or speaker, you can stream wirelessly between these products. You can even connect your normal speakers to an Airport Express and achieve the same result. A further cool function of Airplay is that the technology can also stream metadata, such as the name of the song, for example.
The advantage of this technology is obvious – if you are an Apple fan you can easily stream media to the products in your home. The disadvantage is that there are not very many products yet available. Look for Airplay support in the product’s specification.
A further standard for streaming wireless is DLNA, (digital living network alliance), which has the advantage of being a manufacturer dependent standard. Several manufacturers have joined forces to support and develop the standard and therefore there is quite a wide range of products. You can for example connect products from several different manufacturers – if you have for example an LG mobile and a Samsung TV which supports DLNA you can stream music and other media between these units wirelessly. On the home page DLNA.org there is a list of products which are currently supported.
A further solution is to connect an FM sender to the mobile phone’s headphone output. You match the frequency between the sender and the music unit receiving the sound. The disadvantage is that the technology is sensitive to disturbance and therefore gives relatively low sound quality, though it has the advantage of being cheap.
For the discerning
Active speaker with 360° sound. Supports several transfer technologies.
Compatibility: iPhone, iPad, Android, Mac, Windows
Wireless technology: Wi-Fi, DLNA, Airplay, Sony HomeShare
In/outputs: Analog sound input
Other: 50 mm woofer
For the traveller
Portable Bluetooth speaker
A neat and good value unit with powerful sound and a battery life of up to five hours.
Compatibility: Computers, tablets and mobile phones with Bluetooth (a2dp).
Wireless technology: Bluetooth V2.1 + EDR.
In/outputs: 3.5 mm stereo output.
Other: Built in 4 W battery, range 10 m.
For the home network
Apple Airport Express
Router with built in Airplay support and sound output so your loudspeakers can receive music wirelessly from your iOS unit.
Compatibility: iOS, Mac, Windows.
Wireless technology: Airplay, 802.11 b/g/n.
In/outputs: 3.5 mm-output.
Other: Router, wireless printing, wi-fi-repeater, dual band.